Abstract Both Ti foil and porous Ti were anodized in 0.5%HF and in ethylene glycol electrolyte containing 0.5%NH4F (mass fraction) separately. The results show that TiO2 nanotubes can be formed on Ti foil by both processes, whereas TiO2 nanotubes can be formed on porous Ti only in the second process. The overhigh current density led to the failure of the formation nanotubes on porous Ti in 0.5%HF electrolyte. TiO2 nanotubes were characterized by SEM and XRD. TiO2 nanotubes on porous Ti were thinner than those on Ti foil. Anatase was formed when TiO2 nanotubes were annealed at 400 °C and fully turned into rutile at 700 °C. To obtain good photodegradation, the optimal heat treatment temperature of TiO2 nanotubes was 450 °C. The porosity of the substrates influenced photodegradation properties. TiO2 nanotubes on porous Ti with 60% porosity had the best photodegradation.